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Comment Getting close to design sensitivity (Score 1) 220

Every time they get closer to the design sensitivity the detector can spot signals coming from farther away, as the wave amplitude follows the inverse square law.

This increase in range will result in a great increase in the _volume_ they can observe, and remember that these detectors do not need to be pointed they way telescopes do.

The project can clearly follow the Type 1a supernova project (which brought the Nobel Prize to Saul Perlmutter) and go from detecting one signal every few months to detecting a few signals per day.

Comment Back in fashion ? (Score 1) 147

I remember back in the early and mid-90's the idea was to include micron-size vacuum tubes in integrated circuits in order to cut down the reverse-current to a level that semiconductor diodes could not do it.

Those tubes were functionally only diodes and the idea was to use the strong electric field at the tip of a very small cone to achieve cold electron emission. Imagine hollowing out a half-sphere and then add a cone with the tip at the center of the sphere. Now apply a voltage between the two. The electric field is very strong at the tip of the cone, but much weaker at the interior surface of the sphere. This results in cold electron emission from the tip of the cone and a current when the voltage is applied one way, but no current when the voltage is applied the other way.

I have never seen these used in practice. I believe one reason is that such a component had to be at least a couple of microns across, and the chips had little use for a 2000 nm diode.

Anyway, such vacuum tubes could have some use in parts where zero reverse current is important, but due to size limitation don't expect to see them replacing transistors that are counted in the billions in modern chips.

Comment What you are forgetting is ... (Score 1) 1023

... regulation. Just because you can build a fully automated restaurant, it does not mean that you'll be allowed to operate it.

McDonalds is large enough to lobby for laws that will make such an idea non-marketable.

Just like the municipality-run ISPs, which have been feasible for more than a decade now, but are illegal due to lobbying of the big ISPs.

Comment Reassuring (Score 1) 130

I'm glad to know that given all the cuts on the police force that Osborne is talking about, the humming a tune in the shower police unit remains well-staffed. Right along the lines of the "Big Society" trumpeted by Cameron.

After all, who cares about assault, burglary, etc ? Good luck having the police respond to a call reporting assault. Good citizens should band together and defend against those, the police is too busy with much more serious crimes. Like not paying for the right to hum a tune in the shower.

Comment Hollywood will have to rethink its cliches (Score 2) 199

How will be possible to have car chases in this case ?
The cops will simply shut down the car remotely.
All the movie scripts will have to be modified to exclude car chases.

Then again, spying on people while driving is a source of additional income for the car makers, so the possibility of buying a car without this "feature" will be removed from customers.

Comment 5-dan pros have been beaten in the past (Score 1) 149

Computers have beaten higher-ranked players (Catalin Taranu, 5-p) on the 9x9 board. Computer go is nowhere near computer chess where humans cannot stand a chance against the top engines like Komodo, which is rated over 3300 ELO.

I cannot help but notice that Google are advertising their AI system, after IBM pushed Watson for years, and Microsoft have recently open-sourced their system:

I am curious though about the result against a 9-dan pro, and what will such a player say about the way the engine plays.

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